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Skulls (Widescreen)

Joshua Jackson , Paul Walker , Rob Cohen    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
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Jackson/Walker/Bibb/Nelson ~ Skulls

Amazon.ca

Think of the Skulls as a collegiate Freemason's society--an ultrasecret organization that opens the doors of power to a few lucky Ivy League students, including school rowing star Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson), a poor kid with a misspent youth. "If it's secret and it's elite, it can't be good," cautions his journalist roommate, but the lure of lavish gifts and cabal-like ceremonies in torch-lit stone chambers is too much to resist--until his roomie is murdered and his own Skull "soulmate" Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker) is the number one suspect.

There's a campy kick to the initiation ceremonies, ancient rituals in dungeonlike alcoves filled with haze and shadow, performed by enthralled frat boys, but as Jackson flounders at the center of a Skull conspiracy it spins into ludicrous melodrama. See the college president become a thug for the Skull godfather! See street punks become high-tech criminal masterminds! See the conspiracy collapse under its own absurdity!

Jackson is pretty much a dud as the well-meaning hero, but Walker, with flashing eyes under furrowed brow, is mesmerizing as a haunted rich kid torn between a ruthless, overbearing father (Craig T. Nelson) and his conscience. Director Rob Cohen drives the film at a galloping pace and fills it with foreboding images, but his humorless solemnity finally buries The Skulls in a heap of clichés. --Sean Axmaker


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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Star has risen from this movie April 15 2003
Format:DVD
I have been an entertainment critic for some time now and I dont think I started watching this movie with the intent to see an Oscar winning movie. I think in the end, with movies like this one, they have to be judged on whether the movie was entertaining or not; and this one was...just barely. What was surprising was that this movie was kept afloat by Paul Walker who plays more of a supporting actor rather than Joshua Jackson, the lead, who makes rather a mess of his role. Jackson has shown with this movie why he is usually restricted either to the small screen or to supporting roles on the big screen. Walker, on the other hand, turns in an inspired performance as a rich prep student that is torn between his own morals and conscience and his corrupted father. As said above, it is Walker who keeps this second rate "thriller" above water with his acting skills...there is much more to come from this young, talented and budding actor. Walker will be the one who will go on to play leading roles and graduate from the teen movie ranks while Jackson will be left wallowing in Walker's wake. Jackson's acting is one of the many pull downs of this movie. The movie ends with an unbelvievably cheesy scene and it is very irratating for the movie goer as he/she are left with many nagging questions...what happened to Walker's character after his attempted suicide? Not to mention all the holes of the story or the below mediocore acting of most of the cast or the dull directing of Rob Cohen or even the lack of development of any the characters...you barely know enough about any of them to evoke some sympathy. Despite the limitations of his character, script and directing, Walker, rises above all the dismalities of this movie and shines, and what makes the movie barely mediocore. The Skulls is just a stepping stone for better things to come for Paul Walker.
Natasha Kaplinski...
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2.0 out of 5 stars I want to bang my Skull against something.... March 15 2003
Format:DVD
Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker are budding stars that will soon land themselves into feature films and be handed better scripts than The Skulls. It's obvious both actors have talent, and are a good movie away from being big name stars.
The Skulls was mediocre at best. Actually, it was below mediocre. Was it watch able? Yes, but barely. The whole concept was pretty outlandish and rather silly. I can't imagine such a society existing to this extreme extent, but I'm sure there are ones that have the same practices.
Rob Cohen did a terrible job of giving substance to the characters. I really felt no real feelings towards any of the performers because their backgrounds were either briskly explained or not interesting at all. It's as if Cohen had one thing in mind, and that was making this secret society as mysterious as possible, and totally forgot about his characters.
Also, the street punks magically turning into brainiacs is unbelievable. There were many instances like this through out the movie that were down right cliché loaded.
The Skulls turned me off for many reasons, and it's a shame because the basic, basic premise is quite intriguing. 2 Stars
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2.0 out of 5 stars Bad writing provides many unintended laughs March 18 2002
Format:DVD
There are those who believe that a movie critic is usually someone who wouldn't know how to make a movie if his or her life depended on it. I won't argue this point, but I do know that at the core of the process there is writing, which I do know something about. A movie script contains two kinds of writing and is usually composed in two columns. One column is the dialog, while the other contains notes about the setting, the tone and the actors' body language. Some scripts that a studio buys contain a great story but lousy writing. This has created a whole other profession, that of the script doctor. After watching The Skulls, I thought to myself, "Is there a doctor in the house?"
The Skulls is about a secret society that has existed for decades in an Ivy League university. They never say which school it supposed to be, but since the letter 'Y' is seen several times, I suppose it's Yale. The alumni of this society are very rich and very powerful. To be selected to join it means that one has a leg up in life.
Luke McNamara [Joshua Jackson] is a student from the lower middle class who is working his way through college. This is a stock character in such movies and is written to evoke sympathy in the audience, which is presumed to care less about the ins and outs of rich kids. Luke needs a lot of money to get through law school. The Skulls, he thinks, would be of great benefit to him. When he is chosen he is thrilled, but it doesn't take long for him to find out that there is now a barrier between him and his best friends, Caleb and Chloe [Hill Harper and Leslie Bibb]. When a grisly murder occurs in the society's mansion, Luke discovers he could lose a lot more than just his friends.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Movie. March 16 2002
Format:DVD
Luke McNamara, a poor student with a dubious previous history is lured into a secret college fraternity group, "The Skulls", despite being warned by his room-mate that "if it's secret and elite, it's not good". And so it proves, although to start with, its simply amazing; Luke finds himself saddled with a soul-mate, a shiny new car, and $20,000 in his bank account. But things soon go awry, when Luke's room-mate supposedly committs suicide. As the plot develops, Luke discovers the detail behind the death of his best friend, and the true nature of the society that is suddenly a dangerous burden rather than the step-up to Harvard Law School that he had previously believed.
The film moves along at a cracking pace, and Joshua Jackson leads the cast with an excellent and mature performance as the embattled Luke. Luke's soul-mate, the tortured Caleb Mandrake, son of the Skulls's chairman, is played by the dashing Paul Walker who gives a performance of great charisma. All-round, the cast is strong, and the performances solid, helped no doubt by the very good script. The plot has some interesting twists, and is never boring, for the director Rob Cohen (who directed the excellent The Fast and the Furious, also starring Paul Walker) keeps it moving. The music is good, the scenery and background understated but very effective, and the whole idea of the film is brilliant; there are undoubtably secret fraternities of a similar kind in American colleges today, and it is a fascinating thing to speculate on what might go on in them, and how deeply-rooted they are. Certainly however, The Skulls is a excellent film, exciting, fast-moving, and intriguing. Admitedly, it lacks a sense of humour, but then, it isn't really that type of movie. Enjoy it for what it is - it's well worth a look at.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected.
I got this movie, expecting to see a thriller based on fact. What I got instead was a teen-flick that seemed more like Scream than a movie about the powerful elite that... Read more
Published on July 5 2004 by MrSherlockHolmes
2.0 out of 5 stars It's no mystery
This film lacks any of the suspense or intensity that makes good thrillers memorable. Cohen claims it is a message film aimed at teenagers headed toward college. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2003 by Daniel S. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Skull Shattering!
SKULLOVE IT! I love this movie! I watch this movie like every other day! A sort of complicated story, it does very well!!
Published on Aug. 31 2003 by ren1246
4.0 out of 5 stars Well acted, but not much for guys to look at
Joshua Jackson, best known as the eye candy on "Dawson's Creek," tries his hand at a dramatic role in this thriller loosely based on the Yale secret society that has... Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2003 by Nysocboy
5.0 out of 5 stars President Bush's Club
The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003 by Blah
5.0 out of 5 stars President Bush's Club
The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003 by Blah
5.0 out of 5 stars President Bush's Club
The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003 by Blah
5.0 out of 5 stars President Bush's Club
The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003 by Blah
5.0 out of 5 stars President Bush's Club
The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003 by Blah
5.0 out of 5 stars The skulls had me watching!
This was a good movie about secret societies and how they operate in the world. Joshua Jackson plays a college student waiting for the Skulls to ask him to join and when he joins... Read more
Published on May 23 2002 by Phillip Schoppy
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